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Soaring Freight Costs Will squeeze profits

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It’s getting more expensive to ship commodities around the world, threatening to squeeze profits for global traders and raise food prices.

The Baltic Dry Index, which published current shipping rates, surged 73 percent in 2017 to a four-year high because of a slowdown in new bulk freight capacity. More than 85 percent of global exports and imports in grains and oilseeds is transported by dry-bulk carriers, according to Rabobank International.

Higher shipping costs will make agricultural products from farther away less competitive, and could push up food prices, the bank said in a report last week.The United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization expects the world food bill to be the second-highest on record this year, driven by higher freight and rising demand for foodstuffs.